Albert von Szent-Györgyi (1893-1986)

Albert von Szent-Györgyi (1893-1986)

Albert von Szent-GyörgyiAlbert von Szent-Györgyi

Nobel laureate physiologist or medicine and biochemist

Born in Budapest, Hungary, the famous physiologist and biochemist Szent-Györgyi began his studies Budapest, where he received his MD in 1917. He continued his studies in Pressburg (today: Bratislava), Prague, Berlin, Leiden, and Groningen, and finally received his PhD in chemistry from Cambridge.

He found a rich supply of vitamin C in paprikaHe found a rich supply of vitamin C in paprika

Financed by the Hungarian State, he set up the Institution of Biochemistry of the University of Szeged. His persistent studies lead him to be the first to isolate vitamin C. He found a rich supply of the vitamin in the Hungarian paprika.


Szent-Györgyi also studied the uptake of oxygen of living organisms. The most significant result of his research on cellular respiration was the identification of certain steps in what would become known as the Krebs cycle.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) molecule

For his studies into biological combustion processes with special reference to vitamin C, Szent-Györgyi was awarded the 1937 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. He became a full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1938.


Albert von Szent-Györgyi on the stamp of the Hungarian Post JSCAlbert von Szent-Györgyi on the stamp of the Hungarian Post JSC

After World War II, he permanently moved to the United States and settled in Woods Hole, near Boston, where he received a research position with the National Institutes of Health. Szent-Györgyi established the Institute for Muscle Research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, where he continued his studies dating back to the times in Szeged, Hungary.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, HungaryHungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Between 1962 and 1971, he was professor at the Darthmouth University. He always maintained contact with his native country, and regularly visited Hungary from the 1960s. He dedicated the last two decades of his life to his research interest in cancer. He died at the age of 93 in Woods Hole.